Because it comes with a very exciting new feature.
The Sync3 infotainment system is used on all Ford models ranging from the humble Explorer SUV up to the GT supercar as well as on all Lincoln vehicles like the new Aviator. It has long been one of our go-to favorite systems on the market but in our last couple of encounters with the software, like our recent review of the Edge ST, it has started to feel slightly dated compared to the competition. But Ford is now releasing an all-new infotainment software, called Sync4, which is set to arrive next year in 2020.
Sync4 has been tailored to run on different touchscreen sizes ranging from eight to 15.5 inches, meaning it has been optimized for the Explorer's vertically-positioned display. Just like Sync3, Sync4 will include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard but much to the chagrin of BMW owners, both of these systems will now include cord-free compatibility.
BMW has taken some flack recently for charging $80 per year for Apple CarPlay (Android Auto isn't even offered) while other automakers offer it for no cost. The excuse has been the exclusive availability of wireless compatibility, but now Ford is offering it for free. And this isn't the only improvement Ford has made with Sync4. The system now includes twice the computing power, allowing for conversational voice recognition with cloud-based internet search results, so passengers will always have access to any information they need.
Ford says Sync4 also features machine learning capability, so it can automatically learn your driving preferences and make helpful suggestions like the fastest route to the restaurant you visit every Friday. "Sync has always featured the best of Ford innovation to help our customers stay connected to and manage their busy lives as they move about the world," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer. "With this new fourth-generation technology, we've evolved Sync into an intelligent, voice-activated, in-vehicle digital assistant."
Along with the new software comes a new layout. 12-inch screens now feature better multitasking so it will be much easier to complete tasks like changing the radio without having to leave the navigation screen. On the larger 15.5-inch screens, drivers will have access to what Ford calls Adaptive Dash Cards, which interactively show recently used or popular features horizontally underneath the main portion of the screen.
Ford hasn't specified exactly which vehicles will be receiving Sync4. The company says it will be available on "select Ford vehicles starting in 2020," so we assume newer models like the Explorer should get it. It is still unknown if Sync4 will also make its way retroactively to older models via a software update.